Grant Germain - A Cult On Long Island
"I was riding some dumb looking scooter frame at the time. Robbie helped me get rolling right!"
22 May 2015
Intro, interview and photos by Devin Feil
It's easy to foresee a bright future ahead of Grant Germain. He's eighteen years old, already crisscrossing the country and beyond, with the co-sign of fellow Long Island native Robbie Morales who said "I definitely see the qualities it takes to succeed in Grant." Robbie's track record scouting talent in BMX is without rival, so those words carry quite some weight. Now to hear from the young man himself...
Age and current residence?
Been livin' for 18 years. Glen Cove, New York
Have you always lived in Glen Cove?
No, I actually just moved into a new apartment with my mom a few months ago. I used to live in a town called Wantagh.
What age did you pick up a BMX bike and what sparked your interest?
I was probably 10 or 11 and I had just moved to Wantagh and there was this crazy town park that had so many spots in it right down the block. There were really good waxed ledges and banks and stuff. I did my first feeble grind at that park haha. But a bunch of riders would be there everyday, it was sick! That was like the meet up spot in that town. I remember not ever even calling anyone to meet up, just getting home from school and pedaling over there knowing people would already be there! Good times in that park, definitely got me and kept me interested!
When did you start making trips into NYC to ride?
I starting going to the city when I was probably 12, my good friend Billy and I would have to be driven in cause our parents were sketched out about us taking the train at first haha. We would get dropped at the Brooklyn Banks ride that and all the spots down there all day! We would go pretty much every weekend, miss The Banks!
"...the pressure of having a filmer and photographer set up definitely helps the 'send it' factor haha." - Grant Germain
Long Island has a rich BMX history, what was it like growing up there?
Yeah man it was awesome growing up here, there were always lots of events/jams and stuff like that. And still even now theres usually a lot going on such as Dub Jam, and the Animal street rides! There also still a lot of riders around, on a good summer day there will be 30-40 riders at our local park. Definitely very motivating!
Long Island is known for a notable trail scene. Were you ever in the woods hitting any of the local jumps?
I definitely used to go a lot more then I do now, my friend Doug would always take me to the "Boondock" trails when I was younger and I would ride the pump track and little sets there. l'll probably try to make it out there at some point this summer!
First time you met or spoke to Robbie?
The first time I met Robbie was at the Talk is Cheap Premiere at Post bike shop, Cult was doing a lot of stuff in NYC at the time so I would always see Robbie around. I was riding some dumb looking scooter frame at the time. Robbie helped me get rolling right!
How do Long Island filming sessions differ from when you are out in California?
I almost feel like they're the same cause we have a good sized crew out here, but out in Cali the sessions are usually HEAVY! 10-15 dudes that are at the top of the game right now at one spot. Thats so motivating to me. I love being around that, its just a different energy.
Who handles your filming back home?
My good friend Matt Schyler handles most filming out here. He's primarily a skate filmer, but he's awesome to work with and always down to go film at any hour before, after or in between actually working a full time job. Usually its us and our good friend Frankie who is a skater also and we just go to spots low-key and get shit done. I've always been motivated by skateboarding anyway so I love going out filming with them. Another person I film a lot with out here is Craig Passero.
"I just love finishing a project and looking back at it as motivation to make future projects even better!" - Grant Germain
How'd it feel to be given the opportunity to film for 'Small Talk'?
It was awesome! Definitely a great learning experience for me, I liked the fact that I was actually working on a project. It wasn't just another web video I was filming for and then having to figure out who was going to want it when it's finished.. This time it was a set plan and I was working towards finishing a project with the crew. I got close with all the dudes too and especially Veesh, good times filming for that video for sure!
Were you proud of how your section came together?
I was proud of it at the time for sure and just proud to just have had a part in a Cult dvd, but I'm just the type of person that isn't ever completely satisfied with what I'm working on. I know I could always do better, theres always better tricks to be done, new tricks to learn and more work to be put in. I just love finishing a project and looking back at it as motivation to make future projects even better!
What was it like revisiting your 'Small Talk' ender spot? Was it as you remembered it?
Haha jumping onto that ledge is pretty scary, the run up is tight, gap is pretty far, it was scary the first time and definitely scary the time we went! So yeah definitely just as I remembered it!!
Favorite Cali spot?
It's really hard to just pick one, I just love being in Cali in general. Every spot is perfect and I like to ride everything, schools are the sickest though they're like skateparks. So pretty much any school with a solid crew having fun!
Favorite Long Island/NYC spot?
Definitely the Seaport ledges in NYC. They're just these 20-25 ft. waxed coping ledges along the East River they're amazing!
How often do you make it out to SoCal?
I've been going out a lot for the past two years. Its almost impossible to ride on Long Island at a level for me to try to keep up with whats going on in BMX so I really just need to get out of here in the winter! I had been going back and forth like every other month except now I'm home for a bit with a broken hand, but hopefully I'll be out there again soon! Shout out to Francis and Veesh for housing me and putting up with me when I've come out haha!
Have you considered moving to California permanently?
Yeah that's definitely the plan, I would love to have done so already! I'm just broke so I should probably get a job haha!
You seem to do well filming under pressure. What are your feelings on visiting spots with a pre determined idea?
I honestly feel like it all depends on the day. Where my heads at that day, how I'm riding, what I'm wearing, all those things can alter getting a trick or not, but the pressure of having a filmer and photographer set up definitely helps the "send it" factor haha. So sometimes the pressure is good.
Visiting a spot with a predetermined idea can be good or bad to me sometimes, because from time to time too much thought goes into it. Then you show up and it either is scarier, or just how you imagined it, just all depends.
The barspin rail hop was you stumbled across that day, and you even did it twice so I could get the timing right. Thanks for that! Why was it important for you to leave the spot with the photo as well?
You're welcome haha. I'm just really into photos, they're something that's timeless. We don't always go out with photographers either and I mean you were set up so I just feel obligated to do the trick 'til we get what we need!
What was your recent injury and what were you trying?
I broke two bones in my hand literally sliding out of a feeble on a flat ledge in San Diego.
How long did your broken hand take you out?
It took me out for about 3 months, 2 months in a cast going to the doctor weekly then about a month to recover. My hand was pretty messed up.
Now that you're healed up what’s next in 2015 for you?
Just trying to ride as much as possible!
Thanks or shout outs?
I would like to thank: Robbie Morales and everyone at Cult, John Povah at Etnies, Redbull NYC, Ed Pollio and 5050 skatepark, Joy Bethany, Veesh, Matt Schlyer, Francis Castro, most importantly my Mom and Dad, family and friends for all the constant support and you Devin for this interview! Without all those people none of this would be possible for me, so thank you to you all!
Robbie Morales - The Long Island Connection
Did your Long Island roots play a role in either you or Cult first noticing him?
Robbie: Definitely helped, I would see him at all the New York jams we were a part of, and noticed his riding and style immediately. Then I found out he was a Long Island boy and there is still plenty of LI pride with me haha.
How does it feel helping to bring up a rider who grew up in the same area as you?
Robbie: Its awesome. There are so many good riders from Long Island, it's crazy. They are so young most of 'em don't know I even lived there. Despite the harsh winters it's a cool place to grow up and keeps you searching for spots and the next session. So much respect for the riders who keep shredding and keep the scene alive. The trail scene is one of the best in the world period. With NYC so close the street riders are always progressing and there are a bunch of new parks popping up all over the Island. This creates some of the most well rounded riders in the game.
This isn't the first time you've sponsored someone from Long Island, right? Russ Barone comes to mind and I am sure there are others...
Robbie: Yea Russ, Justin Crofton and Shawn Garrett have always been down. It's great to see Russ coming into his own and traveling the world on his bike, he is such a good all around rider, shreds whatever is in his way. Been riding with Russ for over 20 years.
Do you see a young version of yourself in Grant at all?
Robbie: Yeah the Island will make you never give up. I definitely see the qualities it takes to succeed in Grant. He has the drive and determination to make it through the shitty winters. The desire to travel and keep progressing his riding. He knows when it is time to travel and experience more, Grant has that and cool parents who let him do his thing. It's crazy how young he is and how much he has accomplished.
How does the Long Island scene you remember differ from now?
Robbie: There are more places to ride, that's for sure. When I was coming up we really rode whatever we could find or build. The new generation has it better with more parks and opportunities for sessions. Also like I said before the trail scene is really strong and always has been, much respect to those guys keeping it going. I love going back each summer and reliving my youth. The older guys I grew up with, I shared some of the best times of my life with, even if we don't keep in touch as much as we should, we still had those times. Now it's time for Grant and his homies to create those memories, long live BMX.
"It's crazy how young he is and how much he has accomplished." - Robbie Morales
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It's a wrap....